I went on an Amazon shopping binge to find the best above ground pool for this summer.
I ordered 15 different pools and you wouldn't believe how many of them were of surprisingly low quality.
After 127+ hours of installing and testing them, I ended up with just 7 I would buy again.
And there was ONE clear winner.
Thanks to Amazon's 30-day money-back guarantee, I was able to get my money back.
But I'm telling you…
I could think of sooo many better things I could have spent the time and money on that I wasted on testing awful above-ground pools…
To make sure YOU don't have to go through this nightmare, I compiled this in-depth above-ground pool review for you.
3 Top-Rated Above Ground Pools
Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set With Filter Pump & Saltwater System: THE Best Above Ground Pool?
This above ground pool lets you know that your options are not limited.
This Steel Frame Above-Ground Pool has a reinforced, laminated PVC sidewall paired with a support band that surrounds the entire pool.
Considered as one of this steel pool's exceptional features, it keeps the users safer and more secure as it can help the pool to have proper support.
- Uniquely designed frame combines high quality galvanized steel with precision engineered locking system, enhancing the overall quality, durability and stability of the...
- Rust resistance: encapsulating inner and outer powder coating ensures the ultimate resistance to rust
- 2-year manufacturer's Warranty
What’s exciting with this pool we reviewed is that you have the option to add a saltwater mechanism. Personally, I think this should not be an option but a necessity that every manufacturer should provide. Have a saltwater feature that doesn't use harmful chemicals to keep the water extra clean? Yes, please.
Additionally, it’s a better cleaning method than the pools that use chlorine.
This is undoubtedly the best above ground pool in this buying guide.
This large above-ground pool is made of great materials which is perfect for summer and is guaranteed to last for a number of years. Its water capacity is up to 5,061 gallons. No wonder it keeps appearing on reviews!
- Saltwater mechanism is a better alternative because salt can be easily found on a cheap price.
- Steel walls are extra strong.
- Despite the large size, this pool is very easy to set up without needing any help.
- Comes with pool cover.
- The pool does not include a vacuum cleaner or skimmer.
Intex Easy Set 15ft X 48in Pool Set: The Affordable Choice
If you want one of the best ones for summer but on a budget, this Intex easy set pool with an affordable price is one of your options.
The Intex Easy Set Pool has the size and features of a winner. This standard sized pool can hold up to 3,736 gallons of water.
- Equipped with the ground fault interrupter, which is an added safety feature that shuts off the pump if electrical Current is exposed to water
- Ready for water in 15 minutes, - simply spread out on level ground, inflate the top ring, fill the pool with water, and enjoy the fun
- Water capacity: (80%) 3, 736 gallons. Includes: Krystal clear cartridge filter pump, 1, 000 GPH (110-120V). Ladder. Ground cloth. Debris cover
This is already more than what most above ground pools can carry. You don't have to worry about the easy set's durability because the pool's sidewalls are made of laminated PVC. This makes it extra strong and sturdy enough to support the activities happening inside the pool.
This picture-perfect pool for summer which is an easy setup type includes ladder, ground cloth, pool cover and pump. The ground cloth and debris cover help to keep it free from any ground debris. It comes with a Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump and this is known for good circulation of the water inside. Good water circulation means clean and clear pools all day every day. In addition, this is available in different sizes.
Despite its affordable price tag, what makes this stands out from the rest of the pools is that it features a Ground Fault Interrupter. I think this is the icing on the cake because it automatically turns off the pool pump whenever an electrical current is exposed to the water, which certainly is one of reason for the positive pool reviews. In every situation, it is important always to be safe.
- The pool pump is not just highly durable, but also very easy to clean.
- The pool cover and ground cloth are washable.
- Its drain plug is very convenient.
- It can’t be installed on a sandy or muddy space.
- Isn't as solid as metal frame models.
Intex 18ft x 48in Prism Frame Pool Set: Larger and Sturdier
For an even sturdier pool for summer, opt for the top above ground pools option that has a galvanized frame such as this model.
This makes the pool a lot more capable of holding many swimmers at once.
- Prism frame pools feature strong powder coated metal frames combined with the strong 3-ply material liner and a beautiful design, offering a Premium pool experience at an...
- Enhanced floor thickness for more durability
- Includes 110-120V cartridge filter pump with a pump flow Rate of 1, 500 gallons, pool ladder, ground cloth and pool cover
Just like any other of the above ground pools from Intex, its walls are also made of laminated PVC and can actually hold a lot more water, 6,423 gallons to be exact and is 48 inches deep.
This pool is a show stopper because of its large size, high quality and its exceptional durability because of its galvanized steel frames.
The Prism Frame Pool also comes with a Krystal Clear Cartridge which takes care of the water quality inside the above ground pool and a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter which directly shuts off the pump when it detects that the electric wires are wet.
The dual suction outlet fittings are also very notable because it ensures a good circulation of the pool’s water, giving the pool users a clean and safe water to swim around.
- Pets can freely swim because the sidewalls are highly heavy-duty.
- This has the tendency to withstand the cold weather.
- The drainage plug can be connected to a hose.
- Has a pool cover
- The pool is slightly too large for the filter pump, which may affect the pump’s strength.
- The pump isn't very durable.
Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set: For The Bigger Bunch
If you’ve had enough with the circular above ground pool sets, here’s a rectangular set.
The XTR Rectangular is perfect for summer and lap swimming, and it's easy to assemble.
- Uniquely designed frame combines high quality galvanized Steel with Precision engineered locking system, enhancing the overall quality, durability and stability of the...
- Rust resistance: encapsulating inner and outer powder coating ensures the ultimate resistance to rust
- 2-year manufacturer's Warranty
If you’re highly active and into sports like me, I suggest getting this awesome above ground pool option as it comes with a volleyball set, along with maintenance kit and other accessories. This is also perfect for the whole family!
A noteworthy feature of this rectangular pool is that it has a very sturdy design and can hold up to 8,500 gallons of water.
Despite its size and the people capacity, this one is guaranteed to last numerous summer seasons because it is made of durable materials and has a strong pool wall, which makes it a runner up on being one of the best above ground pools on the market.
Playing games and exercising are definitely not a concern with this rectangular pool.
- The sand filter is easy to maintain.
- The pool stands strong even with a number of swimmers inside it.
- Everything you need can be found in the set.
- The ladder can be a shaky.
- The instructions are not specific or detailed. Not easy to assemble.
Ipool Deluxe Above Ground Exercise Swimming Pool With Filter Pump And Heater Upgrade: The Cold Will Not Bother This
If you’re a health-conscious and want to squeeze in any physical activity during the day, then this above ground pool might be your go-to.
I must say, this deluxe option is one of the best ones for exercising because of the way it is designed.
- Above ground exercise swimming pool easily fits into your basement or garage with small 6 square meter footprint
- Product Dimensions: 7’X10’x45'' Total footprint including base: 8.5′ X 11.5′ recommended 9’x12′x7' space for installation
- Strong zinc coated galvanized steel frame & sturdy five layer vinyl coated polyester weave liner (Used In River Rafts/Artificial Lake Beds)
- Its compact size made it easy to set it in place anywhere.
- The pool heater is really useful.
- The harness is reliable and strong enough to hold a number of users.
- The heater might be a little difficult to install.
- The heater may fail sometimes.
Heritage TA 301552GP-DXP Taos Complete Above Ground Pool: Stands Strong All Year
We’ve gone past examples of some circular and rectangular shapes of above ground baths, now let’s talk about this Heritage pool with an oval shape.
Since this oval pool has a large size which is best for large families, you might need help to set it up.
- Strong, 7" painted galvanized steel ledge
- Perma 25 Series all weather vinyl overlap liner; Swirl print bottom
- Heavy duty resin ladder with flip up anti-entry staircase and anti-entrapment barrier
At least 2 or 3 persons should be able to help you put it up to be able to get a nicely done oval pool. Also, once you set it up completely, its sturdy metal frame might hinder you from moving it easily, so you might want to winterize it during winter season.
This large oval design boasts its amazing structure which is made of very robust material. This specification makes you consider it as a tough contender on being on this list.
It has a vinyl interior liner which makes it an option of durability and toughness. It has a firm galvanized structure so it’s not a no-brainer if this pool will last a long time because it definitely will. Included items are sand filter, pump motor, and a ladder.
- This steel frame pool set can endure the cold season.
- The pool is very solid and will last a lifetime.
- The sand filter works very well for the size of the pool.
- The ladder can be unstable.
- Some found it hard to install due to its size.
Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool Package: For An Easy-Breezy Installation
This round above ground pool from Splash is made of the best rated and durable vinyl pool liner and a sturdy support beams of steel. Heavy-duty steel pro ledges can be found around the pool’s edges.
It comes with a variety of sizes which are all equally perfect for friends and family and require no second thoughts.
- Strong, painted, hot-dipped 7" galvanized steel ledge
- Sturdy Resin ladder with lift-off outside staircase to prevent unwanted access
- 1 HP pump and motor
This pool from Splash is excellent both for above ground pool parties and lap swimming, if you’re physically active. This deluxe pool package includes all the necessary items like a ladder, pump motor, and a skimmer.
I think one of the important thing to consider when setting up an above ground pool without professional supervision is that the instructions should be detailed and explained well. This popular Splash pool did not fail on that matter.
It possesses a step-by-step video from Splash that will really make the installation process a breeze. A lot of customers can actually attest to that. Moreover, the package includes everything you need to finish setting up the entire pool.
To be considered a good above ground pool, I also look at its elegant design. So, if you’re like me and a pool’s style also matters to you, this product from Splash does not hold back. It looks very eye-catching as it has a tan exterior paired with a blue vinyl interior.
- It is compatible with many pool vacuums and skimmers.
- The ladder can be removed easily and is replaceable.
- Winterizing it can be done without draining all the water.
- Steel frame may rust.
- It's uncomfortable to use the pool without proper ground work.
Wilbar Meadows 24-Feet-By-52-Inch Round Above Ground Swimming Pool: Worth The Price
The last thing on my list is the Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool which is a good find.
This round above ground pool stands on its touch galvanized walls made of steel.
- RESIN COATED STEEL - This elegantly designed above ground pool features a super strong steel wall that has been hot dip galvanized for protection. The copper bearing...
- BEAUTIFUL BEDROCK PATTERN LINER - Take a dip into the glistening waters of Bedrock and experience the visual of pebbles and seashells at your feet. The North American cut...
- ALL YEAR READY – The Meadows Reprieve above ground swimming pool is designed to remain in place all year round. It offers easy one-time installation as all parts are...
This steel frame pool consists of a resin coating to provide protection. Resin pools features a structure that is strong enough to endure heavy weights, soil corrosion, and other issues.
This also makes the frame rust resistant. This one features a corrosion-free foundation system that withstands any weather conditions. To top it all off, the process to install it is very easy. A highlight on the pool’s package is a Widemouth Skimmer.
This model may be your next one because of its remarkable pool liner design. A bead receiver is not necessary because the pool has interlocking stabilizer rails that is designed to overlap the top liner and made stationary with coping.
- The pool has strong steel walls.
- The resin-coated frames provide protection and security.
- Its height is 52 inches.
- The edges of the pool may rust eventually.
- Not easy to set up.
- Process of installation and instructions hard to understand.
The 7 Best Above Ground Swimming Pools Are:
- Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set: Best Above Ground Salt Water Pool
- Intex Easy Set: Best Cheap & Small Above Ground Pool
- Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set: Best Rectangle Above Ground Pool
- Ipool Deluxe: Best Deep Above Ground Swimming Pool
- Heritage TA 301552GP-DXP Taos: Best Large Above Ground Pool
- Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool Package: Best Round Above Ground Pool
- Wilbar Meadows 24-Feet-By-52-Inch: High-Quality Oval Steel Frame Pool
Points To Consider When Buying An Above Ground Pool
To make sure the above ground pool comes and lands on your backyard, there are a few factors you need to review first.
Best Time To Purchase An Above Ground Pool
Just like any equipment or appliance sold in the market, portable pool prices are not always the same throughout the year. You can score the cheapest deals starting from October until the winter season. Prices go up as late spring and summer approaches again.
If I were you, I’d start looking for above-ground pools and keep an eye on it until winter arrives. So, when winter comes, I would come back for it and buy it right away. Just make sure you have a big enough space to store it for the meantime. Although, if you encounter any pool problems, you can’t usually send it back after 30-60 days.
What The Pool Is Made Of
Of course, you need to know your money’s worth. Looking at the pool’s quality should also be your priority. Your pools should be in for the long run, so make sure they're made of strong and durable material.
It’s not worth to buy it if you constantly need to fix it and patch some holes, replace leaky pieces from time to time, and splurge on new parts every now and then. You might be spending time repairing it more than actually enjoying it.
Type Of Pool To Get
It is important to know that there are various types of above ground pools and accessories you can get. The common ones are the easy pool set and steel frame pool. Easy set above ground pools use a soft vinyl or PVC for its walls.
It also has an inflatable ring that lifts up the walls whenever you fill it. On the other hand, the rust resistant metal frame pool is sturdier. This kind has steel bars to support the vinyl or PVC pool liner. It can also hold more weight for different pool shapes.
Pool Shape For You
The basic and usual shapes are circle, oval, rectangle, and square. One of the factors to think about when choosing the shape is its purpose.
A rectangular above-ground pool is your best option if you want to exercise because it’s best for lap swimming.
On the other hand, if you only plan to use it for pure entertainment and recreation, any shape is perfect. Your only concern left is the space you have for it to be installed.
Area To Set Up Your Pool
Along with the type and shape, the area to place it is important to plan out ahead.
The perfect place to install it is on a flat and even area.
Then, measure it to get an outlook on the maximum pool size that can be placed your space, and what shape will fit it best.
Pool Brands To Pick
You can find above ground pools from well-known manufacturers, such as Intex or Bestway (Intex being the best and most well-known brand).
Large establishments tend to handle any problems a customer might face, and they are trusted brands for that. Most brands also have a reliable customer service.
It’s also convenient to get spare parts coming from large manufacturers according to consumer reports and reviews.
How Big It Needs To Be
The easiest way to solve this dilemma is to think of the number of people who’ll use it.
Think about how big your household is and how often you hold good quality parties in your house.
Nothing is worse than buying an above-ground pool only to realize you can’t set it by yourself. Before completely sealing the deal, you need to know if it is easy to assemble (think of the wall).
Because when manpower is not readily available, you’ll be stuck with installing it by yourself, which is not ideal. In many cases, they come with an instructional DVD and it's easy to install.
This is a necessary point to ensure especially if children are always present. The top pool product for a house that has children is the one that is a safe choice for them. Before ordering one, check what ages are appropriate when using it.
This will tell you if its design is safe for children and how high its water-level is. A lot of baths are safely appropriate for children of ages 4 years and older, while taller pools might be safe only to kids starting from 6 years old and above.
You should also make sure to use pool lights if you want to use it at night.
What Comes With It
Once you spot a great price, check what comes with it. You might only be getting the pool itself which won’t be a convenient option.
Having an above-ground pool is better because this means you can use it as soon as it arrives. You can find that it usually comes with a pump, and a pool ladder in a set for families.
Benefits Of An Above Ground Pool
They aren't just all about ready pleasure, they are more than just that. With your own one in your backyard, you’ll get to experience these benefits you can read about below, too.
A Cheaper Alternative
Installing an above ground pool is a cheaper choice than the in-ground pools. In-ground pools cost more than a thousand dollars, while above ground ones come with a more affordable price tag.
In some cases, you can have it set up for just under a thousand dollars (most families have that kind of money, right?).
Obviously, it won’t last as long as the other mentioned option, but it can be easily replaced. Even after buying a couple more over the years, it still won’t cost you as much the alternatives will.
The moment it arrives on your doorstep, quick installment follows. You can start installing the systems minutes, not hours, after opening the boxes. The longest time to set up a pool is only two days, even with the largest one.
Portability And Storage
The best thing about these above ground pools is that you get to move it around your area if you don’t prefer its original position.
Moreover, if you find it tiring to winterize your above ground pool, you can simply drain and move the above-ground pool to a place safe enough for it to be stored during the cold months until the weather’s perfect to use it again.
You can even get a number of health benefits from taking baths in your pool. People with pain and joint problems can get this type of therapy with or without trainers. This can also be beneficial for people facing mobility problems.
People who suffer from arthritis and paralysis, even just an injury, can also make use of the shallow above ground pools as a medium to retrain and strengthen muscles. Children with autism can also benefit from swimming, especially if animals are present.
Who knew having your own above ground pool in your backyard can come with numerous benefits for your health?
Disadvantages Of An Above Ground Pool
It is impossible for an equipment to exist without its disadvantages, so let’s tackle each of the disadvantages.
It does not look as nice as an in-ground pool
This is an obvious one. Generally, when people say they’re having an above ground pool, people’s instant reaction and thought will probably say that it’s cheap and unattractive.
Even the pool you think is the best for your backyard won’t look as decent as an in-ground one. This might be an unfair judgement and one-sided. One sneak peek of at the top of an above-ground pool will tell you otherwise.
However, when you compare average above ground pools to that of an average in-ground pool, you’d probably think the latter looks nicer.
Does not add much to your property
They don’t really add value to your property since it’s not considered as a permanent installation.
The fact is, having a permanent pool on the premises could actually lower your property value and limit potential buyers when it comes time to sell your home.
Because it’s relatively easy to remove, it’s not necessarily a hindrance.
Options and features are limited
They are not readily customizable. The only change you can add are above ground pools steps and other designs to it. If you desire a pool with a diving board, and uncommon pool shape, or other non conventional add-on, you might want to save it as a wishful thinking.
It also lacks heating, so if you want to be able to use it when it's cold outside, you're much better off getting a portable spa instead. Even though limitations are present in an above-ground pool, you can still enjoy it nonetheless.
It does not last long
Contrary to a well-built in-ground pool, even the best above ground pools don’t last a long time even with high quality. Since this kind of pool is made of relatively cheaper materials, and is more exposed to some elements, do not expect this to last forever.
On the flipside, if you realize that one does not work for you or you simply want to upgrade to one of the more advanced pools, you can easily get rid of it pronto. You don’t have this option with an in-ground version.
Fencing might be required
You might consider putting a barricade on your above ground swimming pool if you want your kids or pets to stay safe and secure. Leaving this pool full of water unattended is majorly discouraged.
Unfortunately, some pools do not include fences. This might add to your installment cost.
Tips for Using Above Ground Pools
Use the pool for exercises. If you have a larger rectangular pool, it is known to be best for lap swimming. However, other types of above ground pools can be used for any exercise such as doing resistance training in the water.
Upgrade family time with the kids by incorporating an inflatable pool float inside the pool. Children will definitely love this idea. Inflatable pools are also shallow enough so kids can safely play fun water games. This is a great relief to parents because you don’t have to worry about its depth and you can enjoy it as much as your kids.
Usually, people who own them create a small wooden deck around the above ground pool. The usual setup is a wooden deck built around a part of the pool with stairs leading up to the pool. A lot of ideas on how to do the decking around it can be found on the internet.
This serves a dual purpose because it makes getting in and out of the water easier, at the same time, giving the swimmers a lounging area where they can chill during break time or when they decide to pause to munch on some snacks.
Taking Care Of Your Pool
Just like any other area or equipment around your house, pools need to be cleaned from time to time. Maintaining a spotless and safe pool environment is a necessity to every pool owners.
First, we need to know a few information about water circulation. So, what is it exactly? Every one of the highest-rated pools has a circulation system which included the pool pump, pool filter, skimmers, drains, and returns. What this system do is it makes sure that the water inside your pool is flowing, while making sure that the added chemicals are properly and evenly scattered throughout the powder coated pool. Each component of the pool circulation system do this so you could enjoy a healthy and harmless water all the time.
Now, let’s get to it specifically. How is this done? Water that goes through the pool skimmers moves out the skimmer basket. This is where debris such as leaves are removed. The water then proceeds through a filter, which thoroughly screens out the contaminants that were not removes previously by the skimmer basket. Filters act as the sanitizing system of the pool. The standard pool sanitizer used is chlorine which can be in the form of a tablet, granule, or stick. A stabilized chlorine is also recommended. This makes the chemicals in your pools last longer and protects the swimmers from the sun’s harmful rays.
After it goes through the filter system, the water is treated by the pool pump. Some pool pumps even heat the water. Ultimately, this results in pure and uncontaminated pool water.
Although the pool filtration system takes care of the contaminants and everything else that floats on the top of the water inside your pool, let’s not forget that it’s not the only reason why pool water gets unsanitary and dirty. If you are worried about the slimy build-up or any other unclean stuff on the sides and bottom of the pool, an automatic above ground pool cleaner is readily available on the market.
In addition to your pool’s maintenance, using a vacuum at the bottom will greatly keep your pool in tip-top shape. Vacuums keep your walls and floor squeaky clean. It captures dirt which hugely prevents algae from growing. The best thing about having a vacuum for your above ground pools is that it gets to areas that have little to no circulation. This might be a breeding area for bacteria, so this area is very crucial to maintain. It should not be left disregarded.
According to some reviews, there will come a time when your automatic cleaners will give up on you. Worst case scenario, this happens unexpectedly. In times like this, it’s important to have a trusted brush sitting on your storage area. Use a brush to clean pool walls, and the floor. For best results, it is recommended to clean pool walls and floor weekly. Brushes help keep your pools bacteria- and contaminant-free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If buying above ground pools is still a quest for you, here are a few questions that are commonly asked by both users and potential owners still looking for the best offer.
Can they be shipped to my location?
If you buy from Amazon, they deliver pools all over the US.
What is the best way to fill a pool?
Pools can be filled by either a water source like garden hose or have gallons of water be delivered for a quick filling of the pool.
Is there warranty available?
Some brand new pools come with 1 year warranty. However, to be totally sure, check with the manufacturer first before buying it.
How do you maintain them?
Each pool demands maintenance differently like keeping the water clean. Although, the basic pool maintenance is simple. It only needs to be vacuumed weekly, skimmed to remove debris, and have the water filtered to keep its water clean at all times. Saltwater or chlorine can be used, depending on the chemical method you’re following [R].
How deep are these pools?
The maximum height is only 54 inches or about 4.5 feet because the walls are submitted to high pressure. Accordingly, the maximum pool depth can only be 52 inches or 4.3 feet, such as with the 52in ultra frame rectangular pools.
How do I drain an above ground pool?
Most of the top options come with outlets on them which can be easily opened and let the water flow out freely. You can choose the easiest way which is to use an electric pump, or if you’re feeling physical, siphon out the water using hosepipes.
To successfully siphon the water out, submerge one part of the pipe into the water. Then, suck on the other end of the pipe so you’ll lead the water out. Be careful not to swallow any water, though. Obviously, this task will be finished faster if you use more hoses into the pool [R].
Is a fence necessary?
This generally depends on the type of your pool, and also, on some factors. Fences serve safety and security purposes. This won’t be a debate especially if children or pets can have easy access to it. In this case, I’d rather be safe than sorry [R].
In conclusion, the top above ground pool of this review is the Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set With Filter Pump and Saltwater System. Compared to other pools, this Intex pool is very generous when it comes to its size, so you don’t have to limit who comes in your pool. In addition, the pool's durability and strength is never a concern because it is supported by laminated PVC walls.
Not to mention its exceptional saltwater system, which is a big help that keeps your water from the harsh chemicals which make every swimming session a clean and safe activity. You get a great bang for your buck since it’s made to last a relatively long time according to above ground pool reviews.
A lot of people might prefer permanent pools more than the above ground variant. But, come to think of it, having your own above ground pool would highly benefit you, especially if your number one concern is the cost to install the pool, then this would be the best choice. This makes having your first one a home improvement to watch out for.
Choosing the right one for you might be a difficult decision to make. However, it would help if you carefully consider each of the factors based on positive reviews, that could affect what pool you buy. If you have a generous backyard, it’s only fair to choose a pool that is a great match to your backyard but without breaking the bank.
Once you’ve set your eyes on the pools that you think are the most excellent ones to ever exist, never hesitate to pursue them because there is nothing more rewarding than to come home and chill in your own backyard after a hard day’s work.
Links, prices and images fetched from Amazon PA API. Last updated on 2020-07-11.